Jaunā Gaita nr. 284. Pavasaris 2016



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JG 284


Photos on the frontispiece and on pages 28 and 57 were taken by Uldis Briedis during ”the days of the barricades” in Rīga 25 years ago. They remind us that Latvia's independence was regained with steadfast courage in the face of great danger.



Uldis Bērziņš' address ”Childhood was Obligatory, a First-Grader's Reflections” was delivered in Rīga at an international seminar on the topic of translating Old Norse Poetic Edda. Bērziņš includes his translation of The Song of Sigurd as well as a poem of his own, a glimpse of the grassroots Latvian national awakening at the end of the 18th century. ——— Leons Briedis’ poem “Young Buck” turns around the relation between hunter and prey.

In the current episode from Ainārs Zelčs’ fantasy history Abrene 2002, tourism flourishes in Eastern Latvia, and Leonid Brezhnev takes up the reins of power across the border in the USSR. ——— Vladis Spāre’s short story ”There It Is All Written Down” is from his series Forgotten Conversations in Old Rīga.

Folklorist Sandis Laime (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art at the University of Latvia) continues his exploration of witchlore in Northeastern Latvia.

Sanita Upleja’s three essays are about folk songs, historical memorials and humanism in politics.

Editor/journalist Ligita Kovtuna describes the celebration of Jaunā Gaita’s 60th jubilee at the Latvian National Library last fall.

Lalita Muižniece (poet and professor of linguistics and literature), Guntis Šmidchens (head of the Baltic Studies program at University of Washington) and Uldis Grava (political activist in the exile community and in Latvia) give separate accounts of the early years of our journal.

Mihhail Lotman (professor of semiotics and literary theory at Tallinn University) contrasts the pompous observance in the USSR of the quadricentennial (1964) of William Shakespeare, and the simultaneous show trial of then 23 year-old dissident poet Josif Brodsky (Nobel laureate in literature, 1987).


Critic Māris Brancis introduces the magic art of black-and-white abstractionist Ieva Blūma.

Our associate editor Linda Treija presents in words and pictures the angular, crystalline craft of jewelry artist Elizabete Ludvika (pages 33 and 47, and on the cover).


Ojārs Spārītis, president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, looks back to the Rīga-Bulduri Conference (1920) of six nations: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Finland and Ukraine. Their purpose was to coordinate foreign policy and to facilitate cooperation in the fields of art, science, literature and public health.

Historian of photography Pēteris Korsaks gives an illustrated account of the life and work of Arnolds Cālītis (1883-1972).

Franks Gordons (Tel Aviv) reflects on his early career working for the Latvian Telegraph Agency under the Soviets after the end of World II.

Juris Šlesers takes a penetrating look at the research of William Prigge of Briar Cliff University in his recent book Bearslayers: The Rise and Fall of the Latvian National Communists.

Lilita Zaļkalne shares a lecture delivered at a commemorative conference in Rīga on the life of writer/historian Uldis Ģērmanis (1915-1997).

Writer/physician Jānis Liepiņš examines the lifelong exchange of letters between literati Skaidrīte Sirsone (Rīga) and Lija Švābe (Stockholm).

The section “Dažos vārdos” (In a Few Words) offers a succinct perspective on cultural and sociopolitical actualities in Latvia and the Latvian diaspora, as well as in Russia and in the rest of its near abroad.


Ilgonis Bērsons. Segvārdi un segburti: noslēpumi un meklējumi (Pen Names and Pen Letters: Secrets and Searchings) is reviewed by Anda Kubuliņa.

Vladis Spāre’s novel Tu nevari dabūt visu, ko gribi (You Cannot Get All You Want) is reviewed by Kristīne Ilziņa.


Jaunā Gaita